A semi-periodic publication by the Dartmouth Outing Club of trip and expedition reports, essays, poetry, artwork and photography.
Why, on a campus with so many student publications already in existence, have we decided to blow on the dying embers of Woodsmoke and rekindle its flame? What could this publication, last seen in the early ’90s, possibly have to offer to the Dartmouth community?
We, the Woodfolk behind the scenes, asked ourselves that very question. Why bother writing about the outdoors when we could be out enjoying them?
That, as it turns out, is precisely the reason. We enjoy the outdoors because it is something to share. Whether it be with an old friend, a new face, or alone with one’s thoughts, experiencing Nature evokes emotions so powerful and basic that they can only be conveyed with a smile. A simple, yet irresistible smile. Whoever sees that smile, whoever catches that added depth to our eyes, has connected with us on the most fundamental of levels. It is a bond of knowing; knowing the enchantment, the fear, the hazard, the mystery which puts everything else at rest and reminds us of how beautiful life, all life, really is.
So as we lie there, next to the campfire, gazing at the wisps of smoke which vanish into the air, telling stories of our childhood, trading old jokes, revealing secret dreams, or just listening to the dance of the wind and the trees, we are sharing something much stronger than simple words. Like the flames around which they are formed, these friendships begin with vibrant activity. As time passes, the flames settle and the coals start to form; these friendships will burn with lasting intensity. These are the friends with whom we share our lives.
It is difficult here, immersed in Nature yet bearing the ironic shackles of academic commitment. It is not easy to get out, to escape. The smell of woodsmoke teases the nose from a nearby chimney, reminding one of that simple peace. The old trees loom with winding arms, coaxing us to skip that class, miss that exam, put off writing that paper. The wind calls from Moosilauke’s peak, but we cannot always answer.
And so we bring you Woodsmoke. Perhaps it lacks the scent you crave, but we hope that from the pages within you will find a hint of that peace you enjoy out there in the mountains and the trees. We have something to share, something to offer you as you sit there with your food in a dinning hall or at home, watching the rain trickle down, the snow fall slowly, or the sun beam bright. These pages are informative, yet enjoyable. They carry information, insight, and perhaps even a little inspiration.
We hope that somewhere within these pages you find a piece of that smile.
You want to know ’ow I get the moose ’ead that’s all stuff on the wall of my cabine? I was out fish one matin, I look up, and I see a moose charge out of the forèt straight at moi. I’m in a pickle. I get ready to trow a bottle de hiodine. Dat scare the moose, ’e turn and run. But I’m so dam scare I trow the ting anyway. I score a bullseye on de derrière de moose. De pauvre moose is in tough shape. De first tree ’e come to, ’e back, ’e rub. I tink I better follow im, see ’ow ’e make out. I follow ’im two, tree mile into de wood. Chaque tree ’e come to, ’e back, ’e rub. By de time I catch up to ’im, all dat’s left is de ’ead and de neck. I bring it ome and mount it on de wall. Sun-uv-eh-gun.
So what is the real story behind the moose? David Hooke remembers the animal to be the 1937 Alaskan Champion Moose. Other stories claim it to be the 1968 Champion. Who knows, maybe it was the champion for both years?!? For a while it was a World record. The person who killed it hunted prize animals worldwide. His biography, Memoirs of a Wandering Chemist, can be found at the Lodge. The head was donated to the lodge in the fall of 1990 by the parents of a Dartmouth freshman, who had been trying for a while to find it a new home. Since the spring of 1991, when it was hung up, it has been watching over hearty mealtimes for hikers of the White Mountains, including yearly feasts of green eggs and ham. It is the Moosilauke Moose and it’s one hell of a big moose!
On the Trail of a Trippie
Strange people swinging about, barefoot and muddy. A guy in a skirt jumping around with his hands wrapped around his knees. As we stand to the side with our hiking packs, we unsuspectingly accept the offer to learn a new dance. With salty-dog skills and the traditionally green recyclable mug, we are quickly assimilating into the Dartmouth community and the wild world of the DOC.
After playing the part of a slot machine on the BEMA and then undergoing the first and easiest test at Dartmouth (in the pool), we separate into trip groups and eat pizza on the green (our introduction to the now all-too-familiar EBA’s). Learning and forgetting name after name we wonder if these “trippees” will be the friends that the letters we got over the summer claimed they’d be. I look around, a bit skeptical that we’ll all get along without faking it.
“…so, I’ll be your trip leader. Why don’t we start off by playing a little name game to get to know each other?” I say enthusiastically, hoping that my new trippees aren’t already sick of name games. Luckily, no one objects to the idea, and soon enough we’ve all met each other —with any luck, I’ll be able to remember everyone’s name for the rest of the trip.
An hour later the first tentative bonds of friendship are being forged over some tasty pizza. During the meal, my trippees are full of questions, from “So, what are the best classes to take?” to “Do we really have to eat green eggs at Moosilauke?” I can’t help but think back to my own trip as a freshman, and it’s a little scary to realize that I’m now responsible for leading a group of ’shmen over fifteen miles of the woods in New Hampshire. But DOC Trip Leaders are not so much wilderness guides (after all, we do carry maps) as we are students who love Dartmouth, and who want to give incoming freshmen a great welcome to the College on the Hill —that role will be no problem to fulfill.
The grand finale of the evening: the display of raw talent of the H-Croo — giving a new definition to the phrase of the once-popular song, “Bust a Move”. Soon we’re acquainted with the “chetto”, where we sprawl in the halls and awaken to a trumpet at 5:45 am. After piling onto buses not much later, we’re dropped off group-by-group along the roadside to venture off for the following two and a half days.
Only a few hours after the previous night’s boot check, the 4:45 a.m. alarm blares through the basement of the NAD house. Two H-Crooers jump into the Stake-truck to load up the day’s food supplies: breakfast and trip food for the current trippees, along with lunch for the next section’s leaders, Liz, and Deans Goldsmith and Hull. We arrive back at the Choates in time to join the rest of H-Croo in our performance of “Wake Up You Sleepyhead”, prefaced by a classic trumpet rendition of the “Revele”. We serve up a buffet of oatmeal and hot chocolate and then send the yawning trippees to Robo to load up gear and get on buses. In an effort to stay awake and get everyone psyched to go we bust out the Sheba moves and teach the Salty Dogg. When the clock strikes eight, the Hanover Noise Ordinance no longer applies, and we turn the volume up. When the last trippee boards the bus, and receives a quasi-vulgar farewell, the Croo immediately stops. We stumble back to the NAD house to steal a couple hours of rest before the next round of ’01s arrive.
Once off the bus we consult the map and off we go. Later, resting for a snack, I dig into the banana chips and peanut butter that will nourish me for the following days. Along the way we meet thru-hikers who haven’t stopped for months and look and smell about that fresh. Some members of the group deicide to test their engineering skills by constructing a tarp-tent which, to the rest of us, appears sturdy. However, when we awake in a growing puddle of rain-water in the middle of the night, we no longer appreciate their skill. After a restless night, I throw my soaking pack on my back and move on —my fellow trippees arguing and my blisters growing more painful with each step. As the clouds separate we make way to our second campsite. Lying in the bright sun brings us warmth and a much needed nap. Feeling refreshed, we cook up a meal and I consume the impressive quesadillas of my trippees’ creation and the runny cheesecake of my own. All too soon we’ve completed hiking trip #55. Still, the freshman trip experience is far from over.
Mousilauke lodge: the running water, beds, cabins, people — a welcome sight to the weary hiker. As we depart from the bus, we hear the Jackson-Five singing from the porch of the lodge, and we see a crowd of people lined up as if for the electric slide. As they break into a synchronized dance, I look to my trippee and we swear we’ll never look that stupid. Of course, a couple of hours down the road we find ourselves on the same field relearning the salty-dog and singing along with Madonna. After much anticipation, we get to chow down on lasagne, salad, and soup (multiple servings if you put your empty bowl on your head). Once our stomachs have reached maximum capacity, the crew brings out dessert. Although we’re all exhausted and ready for bed, the night has yet to begin!
As the final notes of Maceo Parker’s trumpet escort the last freshman through the hubbub of the Lodge kitchen, down the worn stairs and into the cool September night, the Lodge Crew kicks into high gear. The Bond theme song pulsates through the floor strewn with bits of well-tossed salad and fresh mud from trippees’ boots. Tables are sponged, benches stacked, dishes washed, and counters cleaned. A rushed change in the crowded “Chatch Patch”, pungent with sweaty costumes, produces a Crew feeling cleaner, if not looking or smelling cleaner. Congregating near the creaking kitchen doors, we lean on the table and on each other. We listen fondly and cheer loudly for Liz and Josh as they speak from their hearts to the attentive audience before them. The plans for the nightly banterings with Deans Goldsmith and Hull travel through the group with whispered revisions and muffled chuckles. The anticipated razzing and retorts are welcomed with good-natured groans.
After the guest speaker, we file onto the makeshift stage. We introduce one another, our arms across each others’ shoulders, big smiles on our faces. We wiggle our way into the crowd and join in the swaying mass of excited, exuberant Freshman singing their new school’s Alma Mater. Everett is introduced and the scratchy record of The Salty Dog begins to play, first in single, then double, and finally triple time. Next, the Virginia Reel is played, its melody barely audible because of the stomping, whooping, and laughing that fills the crowded room. Lodge Crew members slip in and out of the kitchen, snagging a surplus piece of cake and then returning for a waltz or Walking Whistle. Soon, Everett packs up his equipment and we climb the narrow stairs to the balcony and wrap ourselves in scratchy woolen blankets. Together, we watch the slide show, have our say with Schlitzie, and do our “part” for the Doc Benton story. As another Evening Program draws to a close, we say good-night to tired Trippies and find ourselves exhausted but elated, for we’ve welcomed new members into our community by sharing a piece of our experience, just as those before us shared their experience with us. Our Dartmouth has become Dear Old Dartmouth and the cycle continues.
Before watching Dr. Schlitz slide around on Mount Washington we hear from prominent DOC members including Liz Gerber, the organizer of the ’97 freshman trips. Then the long-anticipated square-dancing with the famous Everett commences. Later we assemble around the fire to listen to the stories of “Jean Baptiste” that drone on and on. Someone on the other side of the room snores and we laugh, but all of our eyes are slowly starting to close. Suddenly —jumping into a stranger’s lap, I scream (along with the entire trip section). The story that we were desperately trying to stay awake for took a rapid turn thanks to the Lodge Croo. We all laugh at our stupidity and the snorer is no longer rumbling in the corner. The storyteller, Tom Burak ’85, takes pride in scaring us and proceeds to do it three more times with the same results each time (though we all swear we won’t fall for it again). As the evening comes to a close we take off to our cabins to spend our last night together as a trip group. In the morning we will wake up still a bit spooked by Tom’s story.
On the balcony above the trippees, I, too, have fallen asleep. Like them, I wake up screaming to the horror of the Doc Benton Story. Once the story is over, I revive myself momentarily to thank the storyteller and to wish him a good night. Inspired by the inexhaustable Lodge crew members, I sneak out with them into the woods to give the trippees a little scare before heading to bed. Soon after, I am in bed dreaming of timely buses, prepared food orders, good weather, relaxed parents, and healthy and happy trippees.
In the morning, I race out of bed, grab a glass of green orange juice and a bowl of cheerios. I jump in the truck and head back to Hanover to start a new day. The long ride back to Hanover is bliss, for at this time I am unreachable by phone or blitz —even by the most persistent of parents or crew chiefs. Arriving in Hanover, I am greeted by the Hanover Crew Chief, who announces all of the problems of the last twelve hours during which I have been absent. Relaxed and well rested, I work through these problems and prepare for the leaders to arrive, the trippees to return, and the injured or lost trip groups to call my office. I work until noon, at which point I greet the leaders and Dean Goldsmith and Dean Hull at lunch. When I return to Robinson Hall, new trippees have arrived and everything is running smoothly (I hope). After a few salty dog dances, it is time for me to drive up to the Moosilauke Lodge to eat lasagne for the nth time with the trippees and to welcome them all to Dartmouth.
In the morning we enjoy our green eggs and ham and Dr. Suess’ ingenious story. (He is obviously a graduate of Dartmouth). As we nap under the sun, play ultimate frisbee and soccer, dance a couple of hundred times to “Blame it on the Boogie”, and dunk ourselves in the river as a last-ditch attempt for cleanliness, our trip slowly draws to a close. Saying good-bye to the characters of lodge crew, we once again load the buses and return to Hanover. Once there we each receive our room key, exchange phone numbers with our new-found friends (which we will never use, thanks to blitzmail), and head to our own corner of campus for a thorough and satisfying shower.
In the coming weeks, shmobs of trippees will abound and trippee reunions will become a ritual. So, the random groupings become bonded friends after all —sharing moments of amusement, disgust, pain, and exhilaration. It’s a strange way for a college career to begin —thrown into the woods with complete strangers, unsure if you’ll survive at this competitve college, or for that matter, if you’ll even make it to the top of the next mountain. But what you find in the woods, during those short yet lasting few days, is the support that you need to keep on pushing forward; to keep making those small steps along the seemingly endless trail. Along the way you learn; you learn about your new friends, the nature around you, and most of all, you learn to enjoy those small steps, because they are the treasured memories of tomorrow.
Back to the Basics
I’ve often heard it said that the only way to get through a term is to take one big breath at the beginning, rush all the way through, and finally let it out when its over. True, a term is intense, and hardwork is a necessity. But breathing is a necessity as well. We hold our breaths as long as we can, cramming in formulas, equations, theories, and histories. But a person can only inhale so long before the lungs have reached their maximum capacity and are poised, bursting at the seams. At this point the brain stops working; thoughts leak out and information spills over the edge.
Only two alternatives present themselves at this instant, either hold it in and study (“just one more hour, one more day, one more week…”) or release it, and take another breath. It can be frightening. Expectations, ambitions, and aspirations all depend on our ability to hold it in —we throw our hands over our mouths as our cheeks puff ou in desperation. We must hold it in. That breath so far has served us well. But that breath is stale, it no longer contains the nutrients our mortal bodies require, can no longer nourish our souls with the vitality needed for a meaningful life. The air around us is not toxic. No mysterious pathogen surrounds us, waiting for us to let down our guard for an instant so it can invade our brains and erase our memories when we come up for air. So what are we so afraid of? There is more to life than studying. Why suffocate ourselves when life depends on breathing, on gathering in our surroundings, on experiencing nature. What good is a life spent studying what others have experienced?
So breathe. Practice, practice slowly. Expand the lungs and listen to the air rush in, filling in the crevices, reaching into the inner depths and caressing the mind. Now breathe out. Close your eyes and sink as the molecules escape. Open your eyes and look around. Live.
It’s that time of year again —frigid, stark, and absolutely beautiful. The myriad activities one can partake of in the winter! Whether it be skiing, boarding, snowshoeing, ice-climbing, or winter camping (for the extra bold), all of your adventures have one thing in common: the potential for cold injuries. Such injuries can put a major cramp in your frosty style, not to mention possibly causing serious injury to your precious person. The only way to avoid these is —you guessed it —prevention! Of course, many of them can be treated after the fact, but why risk oh, say, a limb or an appendage? Here are a few helpful hints that will keep you whole and happy, and will make your trip an amazing adventure…with the embarrassing tales of bodily woes not included!
This is a superficial injury which results from localized cooling, and can become deep if left untreated. The best preventative measures are adequate hydration and core temperature heat. If you drink water at a rate that makes you want to stop at every other tree, you’ve got the hydration bit pretty well covered (this is a good idea anyway!). If you keep up your core temperature, your innards won’t suck up all the blood from your appendages. This means that your fingers and toes won’t turn that sickly white and hence you won’t be in danger of losing them. When you feel fingers and toes begin to drain, you can swing your arms and legs violently in a pendulum-like motion —this will force blood to those nether-parts of the body.
- white and waxy skin, resembling clay, pliable in patches
- What to do
- put hands or feet in armpits or on somebody’s abdomen and do not let them refreeze. Do not pop or rub any blebs (patches).
- In cases of deep frostbite, do not rewarm in the field!! Get help at once. Noooooooooo thawing!
Immersion (Trench) Foot
This is a cooling injury, in which a body part (almost always the foot) remains wet for long periods of time. Contrary to popular belief, the temperature of the wetness is not a major factor. A wet foot looses heat 25 times faster than a dry foot and thus, as a defense mechanism, the body stops sending blood to the outer layers of the skin and the neglected tissue dies. The best prevention is, you guessed it — stay dry! Bring lots of extra socks (they’re light!) and change them frequently, especially when they become drenched in snow, water, or sweat. Change sock-liners as well. If you have no dry socks, try drying them in your sleeping bag (on your stomach) at night, or while you hike. This can be slightly cold and clammy against your navel, but it is highly effective. By encasing your foot in a plastic baggie, You can create a vapor barrier between your liner and wool socks which will prevent further seepage. Dry out your boots too!
If you are only out for a day, this is not a major concern, as trench foot doesn’t develop in the course of a day’s wetness. However, watch out on longer expedtions, or even overnight trips. This is probably a moot point for most of you adventurous trekkers, but if you can, do your best to avoid river fording, deep snow, and puddles. Also, gaiters work like a charm…
- wet, clammy, itchy, pale whitish or grayish color, wrinkled, bathtubby feet. A red, tingling numbness is often the first sign.
- What to do
- Dry them! Dry them! Put your feet in warm, dry socks, on stomachs, in armpits, or in a sleeping bag. Don’t use them anymore unless absolutely necessary. Get back to civilization and seek medical attention immediately. This is a very serious injury!
On the trail and feeling down?
St. Johnswort is a new buzz word in the realm of medicine and healing plants. The September 4 issue of the Review Journal published an article calling St. Johnswort (Hypericum perforatum) the “herbal prozac”.
What it’s good for
Leave it to the wort to be able to cure almost everything. The wildflower may be applied externally to wounds, sores, cuts, bruises. Recent studies have shown the herb to be amazingly effective against mild forms of depression, PMS, ADHD, and Seasonal Affective Disorder. Some physicians have even prescribed it as an anti-inflammatory agent or anti-bacterial agent. It is also recommended for arthritis, shingles, stiff muscles, aching joints and even bedwetting.
Where to find it and what to look for
Though its readily available on the market, St. Johnswort does not have to be purchased in stores. Commonly found along roadsides and in fields, it is easily noticeable by its yellow flowers and small, oval shaped paired leaves with translucent white dots. It is a creeping, weedy-looking plant with multibranching stems that reach 1 to 2.5 feet tall. The five petals of the yellow flower are marked by black dots along the margins.
How to use it
Fresh flowers can be added to tea or ground up into oil. Bakers have been known to add the ingredient to their breads to improve the quality and enhance the flavor.
Though the plant has been widely praised, be forewarned that St. Johnswort contains the active compound hypercerin that when ingested or applied topically can cause an increased sensitivity to the sun. For most people this is a minor problem: an additional coat of sunscreen on a sunny day will be enough to avoid skin irritation and burning.
New Shelter at Happy Hill
This winter and spring, those students who would like to help make outing club history may contribute to the building of the Happy Hill Shelter, the club’s first ever stone shelter. Located just five miles west of Hanover, this unusually-designed structure will replace a rotting wooden shelter which was torn down last March, which itself was created from the vandalized remains of a cabin built in 1918.
The stonework for the new shelter has been completed and one tier of logs rests atop the rock. The hollow within provides quarters for four sleepers; the loft, not yet completed, will accommodate four more. In the middle of the back wall, facing west, is a window.
The progress to date has been achieved under the direction of the college’s Outdoor Programs Office and through the special efforts of a few students.
Pete Semen ’97 created the design. David Hooke ’84, Facilities Manager for the Outdoor Programs Office and General Manager for the DOC, reports that he attempted to dissuade Pete from designing a shelter built of stone instead of the more conventional and readily available spruce wood. Pete, however, citing as his reasons a stone shelter’s better resistance to vandalism, its excellent aesthetic quality, and the pure novelty of the idea, did not yield.
In winter ’97 several students used sleds to transport rock, some of it from an old stone wall, to the building site. Under the direction of Greg Miller ’99 and with much help from Sarah McCoy ’99, the tedious process of setting rocks and mortar in place began during the summer of ’97. Construction continued in fall ’97 under the leadership of Mike Novello ’99.
The next step in the shelter’s construction will require a few students using machinery to bolt the tier of logs to the stonework and remove the ends of the screws. After this has been accomplished, a hardy group of volunteers will be needed to put in place another layer of logs.
The shelter’s target completion date is summer ’98. This winter and spring, Cabin &Trails will be challenged to recruit the workers it needs. Their challenge constitutes an opportunity for any student to become involved, in a very tangible and enduring way, with the DOC. If you would like to offer your muscle, please blitz Sarah McCoy.
The Ice Storm: Dartmouth’s Dealing with the Damage
The Appalachian Trail —DOC Faces a Challenging Spring
Once the ice storm of early January passed, members of the Dartmouth community surveyed the extent of the damage caused to the trails. Their reports indicated that the Dartmouth-maintained section of the Appalachian Trail suffered unprecedented tree damage. The bent, broken, and blown-down trees will mean a lot of trail clearing before the AT hikers begin coming through in June.
If a tree leaned, it was uprooted. If it stood upright, its branches were broken off or its trunk was split, reported David Hooke, General Manager of the DOC. “I saw one ash tree literally popped in half.”
Significant sections of the seventy five miles of Dartmouth-maintained Appalachian Trail were damaged, including a mile-long section of the trail that is considered impassable. After conducting an aerial survey in early January, Kevin Peterson, the Regional Representative to the Appalachian Trail Conference, distributed a comprehensive report of the ice storm damage. Around 18 miles of the trail have experienced extensive damage; virtually all hardwood trees were affected, resulting in broken tops, bent trees, and numerous blowdowns. Another ten miles experienced less severe damage. The sections of the trail that remained unaffected are generally at elevations lower than 1200 feet.
Peterson’s descriptions matched what many hikers observed from the ground. On the north side of Mount Cube, hikers reported many branches down and trees bent. As much as an inch and a half of ice coated small branches of birch trees and other hardwoods. At the summit, the shrub evergreens were so ice-coated that a small child could straddle the cone.
On Smarts Mountain, one hiker counted about 18 significant trail obstructions and one small, impassable section on a two mile stretch. Along the Lambert Ridge Trail, the evergreens fared better than the hardwoods, but even they looked like trees after a bad fight —the cones were badly misshapen, as the wind had bent and the ice frozen them into seemingly unnatural, mangled positions. To the side of the trail, a forty foot spruce was completely uprooted.
Students came back in awe from the carnage of the storm. “It was like hiking through a graveyard. We stopped to eat and I felt like I should whisper to my partner”, said one student. Other hikers described the trails as tunnel-like, with thirty-foot-tall birches and maples touching their canopies to the ground in arches over the trails.
“The damage is truly breathtaking,” said Hooke, after hiking some of the moderately affected trail. “It will be decades before the woods in these areas are fully recovered…”
The Dartmouth-maintained section of the AT, in a typical year, can expect over three hundred through-hikers and many more recreational hikers. Traditionally, care for the trail has fallen under the responsibility of the Cabin and Trail division of the Outing Club. Together with trail adopters —about twenty five volunteers who live in the area —C&T routinely devotes time and energy in the spring to cleaning up the damage from winter storms. This year, however, even rough estimates suggest that they may not be able to return the trail to a hikeable condition by the time AT hikers start coming through.
“By late April/May the DOC will need to swing into a nearly unprecedented work effort.” said Hooke. He estimates that the trail clean-up will take 250 person-days, a little less than the DOC devoted to trail work all of last year. Leaders of the DOC and Hooke agree that the amount of work calls for greater commitment, perhaps a full Outing Club or college-wide effort. Work on the trail is not likely to happen any earlier than April. After the snow and ice melt, trail workers will wait until the end of mud season, when trails are not as easily eroded.
Dartmouth’s Second College Grant Survives Ice Storm
ERROL, N.H. —The storm that struck the northeastern United States and eastern Canada had relatively little effect in Dartmouth’s Second College Grant, and the damage there was limited largely to hardwood trees, reported Dartmouth College Forester Kevin Evans. Few trees were completely blown down. Along with trees at high elevations, maple and birch species suffered the most.
According to Evans, “Every hardwood tree has seen some damage, but few were damaged completely.” Most hardwood trees lost about 25% of their crowns, but some lost between 50% and 75% of their branches. Those with 50% to 75% damage may die if they have experienced stress previously.
The surviving hardwood trees will experience a period of slow growth. “The hope is that the releasing of old crowns will result in bigger crowns.”, Evans said. “But,” he added, “this process may be delayed.”
This period of slow growth will decrease the value of the forest according to Evans, but it will take time to determine the total extent of the financial damage to the Dartmouth land.
At higher elevations, the storm was more severe and resulted in greater damage, Evans affirmed. Between 1800 and 2200 feet, white and yellow birch branches were broken. At slightly higher elevations, more ice —a result of colder temperatures —resulted in widespread damage to maple trees. Evans added that on Mead Paper Company land just south of the Grant, some stands of maple between 2500 and 3000 feet were completely destroyed.
Chris Saccardi, a member of the DOC’s Cabin and Trail Division and a recent visitor to the Grant, stated that a half-inch of ice covered everything. Another member, Liz French, said, “When some of us went cross country skiing on the Stoddard road … in parts every tree on the edge of the road was bent under the weight of the snow, blocking the road. We had an obstacle course to ski!” French added, “The grant was really beautiful with the snow and ice —all the trees were caked in ice and then covered with the fresh snow. On the drive in, many trees were bowed over the road, making it look like we were driving down a tunnel. When the ice-covered branches were hit, they sounded like glass breaking.”
Most damage occurred in tree stands that had been selectively harvested, Evans said. Stands that had not been thinned were better able to withstand the weight of the ice because more branches were available for support. Evans said that because few trees were damaged completely, and no single stand was 100% damaged, no salvage work will be done.
Preliminary reports have indicated that cabins, roads, and trails in the grant sustained no permanent damage. “There are not many blowdowns on the roads and trails, but lots of downed branches,” said Saccardi. “Some trees are bent over completely.” Evans added, “The Stoddard Cabin road, Four Mile Brook road, and the road between Alder Brook and Gravel Pit are impassable. It took three days to cut the trees out from the Green Gate to Hell Gate to continue logging.”
Damage was concentrated in hardwood trees because of their branching structure and composition. Hardwood branches snapped, but softwood trees bent under the weight of the ice. Hardwood trunks also soaked up more moisture, making them heavier.
New Hampshire State Forester Philip A. Bryce stated that downed branches and fallen trees “would [raise] the fuel loads for forest fires…more than two years down the road.” However, Evans is less worried about a fire danger to the grant than about the effects of lost animal habitats. Evans expressed concern that many birds and mammals, accustomed to using hardwood trees for nesting and food, would be weakened by the damage to those trees.
Editor’s Note: Though the repurcussions of the ice storm may present new obstacles and large amounts of repair work for hikers and travellers, it is important to note that for the forest itself, this storm may mean little more than a few below average rings in the coming years.
What’s Up DOC?
While Hanover slumbered beneath the first white blanket of winter last November, I snatched my snowboard and strapped it to my pack; first tracks at the Dartmouth Skiway were calling. My trusty accomplice, Adam, joined me for the night hike up the hill. Breathing heavily and sticking to our scratchy poly-pro, we arrived halfway up the colossal peak. The Skiway no longer seemed so small. I looked at Adam and we both knew that we were about to have the winter’s first taste of ecstasy; the snowboard season had begun.
I plopped onto the snow and fumbled at the stiff bindings until finally both of my feet rested firmly on my snowboard. Adam and I were twitching with excitement, and then we were off. Woohoo! What an incredible feeling to be floating on whiteness while a thick blanket of fog hovered at the base of the mountain.
We pranced up the mountain laughing and smiling the whole way, and we decided to build a jump by the light of the moon. Using a pink plastic sled we piled the snow into a mound. Adam scrambled up a few feet, strapped into his snowboard, and whoosh! He was off. And boom! He was down. The darkness made it difficult to distinguish our jump, it was just a small dot of snow shyly protruding from the whiteness. As a result, we resorted to simply sledding down the small incline. However, our initial inspiration has now been transformed into a full-fledged terrain park. It has taken a lot of work, but I never would have thought that our little lump of snow could have grown into a set of table tops and launches.
And so Adam and I had first tracks. We spent the night in Nunnemacher Cabin, located halfway up the mountain. In the morning we trudged through the deep snow to the ski patrol shack, wheezing and sweating, but knowing that what lay ahead made it all worthwhile. With our large packs strapped to our backs we took off down the slopes, wobbling at first from the weight, but then flying and yodeling all the way to the bottom. We swiveled around and saw two snake-like tracks coming down Holt’s Mountain. We smiled.
No, we weren’t out West on a crazy backcountry mountain or in South America mountaineering through the snow covered peaks. Yes, we were just outside of Lyme, New Hampshire, where they have the odd little general store that sells beef jerky, dish washer detergent, and soft ice cream (…even dipped in chocolate if you like!). But I was able to snowboard. What a wonderful sport.
- Day trips to: Killington, Sugarbush, Loon, Waterville Valley
- College Competitions (freestyle)
- Spring Break Trip to Cervinia, Italy—sponsored by members of the Snowboard Club
Bait and Bullet
The winter season opened with a very enjoyable skeet shoot. About eight club members spent a relatively warm afternoon practicing their marksmanship shooting clays at a nearby skeet pit. The club is fortunate to have a clay thrower and club guns. (These can be taken out from Safety and Security by club members who have completed a Hunter Safety Course and have exhibited knowledge of proper firearm handling skills.) The shooting began with the rather simple skill of hitting clays released beside the shooter. The challenge then progressed to more advanced skills such as shooting clays moving laterally from a point twenty yards to the marksman’s left. All participants enjoyed a fine day of skeet practice and comeraderie.
The second event of the winter was a fly-tying class with Mark Ewing, co-owner of Lyme Angler in Hanover. Mark instructed club members in tying many different patterns, starting with a wooly bugger and moving on to more complicated designs. He did a superb job as an instructor and was patient with all of the anglers present, we thank him for his time and energy!
In the works are plans for a hunter safety course, an ice-fishing trip, and hopefully a spring fly-fishing trip —possibly to the Battenkill river in upstate New York.
Cabin & Trail
On January 17, fifteen people piled into a DOC van and drove up to the Second College Grant. Although the ice storm didn’t hit the Grant as hard as other areas, some of the untravelled roads were nearly impassible. Even agile cross country skiers were thwarted by the abundance of fallen and bent trees. The three to four feet of snow led to skiing, snowshoeing, snowball fights, and even the construction of a snow shelter during the weekend! The trip that went to the Grant in the late fall had also found plenty of snow in which to play. Be sure to contact C&T for more fun adventures!
The Woodsmans Team
On January 30, several members of the Dartmouth Woodmans Team traveled to Montreal to compete in a one-day, two night lumberjack competition both in the field and in the bars. The surprisingly sunny day was filled with chopping, splitting, sawing, ax throwing, pole climbing, snowshoeing, firebuilding and other events.
Woodsmans meets were started by Dartmouth’s Ross McKenney in 1947. It is a fully student-run organization that attracts upwards of twenty five students in the Spring, but also maintains a hardcore group of eight students who stay in the woods all year round. The team also owes much of its knowledge and skills to various alums including Dave Hooke, Put Blodgett, and Jim Taylor.
On April 17-18, Dartmouth will be hosting the Spring Woodmans Weekend, as we do every three years. Anyone wishing to help out, please blitz “firstname.lastname@example.org”.
Environmental Studies Division
Along with drving a campaign to help ban herbicide use in New Hampshire, recent club activity includes assisting the Northern Forest Alliance with the Northern Forest Stewardship Act. This Act is specifically aimed at conserving lands in the Northern Forests of New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, and Maine. Furthermore, during the elections of 1996, we tabled to inform the campus about the environmental records of the candidates for Senate and House offices. For the past two years we’ve awarded the “Most Environmentally Destructive Alum Award”, the first of which went to Senator Slate Gordon, who was notorious for his stance on water logging.
On the community level, we’ve made a constant effort to bring guests to campus in order to educate and enlighten the student body along with the community at large.
ESD also has its wild and crazy side. This past summer we headed up to Maine to enjoy the weather. Eight club members went kayaking, hiking, blueberry-picking, and swimming around Acadia National Park. During the term, we have “EcoStews” every two weeks, dinners to which special guests are invited and at which important issues are discussed.
Ledyard Canoe Club
Ledyard is fun, Ledyard is great come to our feeds and we’ll give you a plate (Thursdays at six thirty, i know you can’t wait!) There’s plenty of food so you won’t have to holler, lasagna and ice cream for only three dollar’. On days of the week that begin with a T, we teach kayak rolling from nine to ten thirty. We’ll teach YOU to roll if you come to the pool, the water is warm at our free indoor school. On spring break we drive south, but not to get tan, we love spending time in the stinky green van. We hear North Carolina calling our name, so we paddle her rivers —the fierce and the tame. When the Hanover ice has all disappeared, and the snowfilled clouds have finally cleared, we pack up our kayaks —red, green, and blue; we head to the rivers and you should come too. We run trips for beginners through to advanced which will hook you on whitewater and leave you entranced. It won’t make you richer, pretty, or thinner, but when you go paddle you’ll feel like a winner.
- Pool Sessions: Alumni Gym, 9-10:30 Tuesday and Thursday.
- Thursday 6:30 all you can eat feed at Ledyard.
The Dartmouth Ski Patrol is an affiliate of the National Ski Patrol. Students donate at least fifty hours of volunteer patrolling at the Skiway. Every Saturday, the Ski Patrol has a barbeque on the mountain. Members of the Ski Patrol also participate in weekly feeds and training exercises. Club cabin overnights are quite popular and this season we will be hosting our Second Annual Dartmouth Ski Patrol formal.
Women in the Wilderness
One particularily notable event of the club’s fall term was a trip to Maple Leaf Llamas in Craftsbury Common, Vermont. Seeking the ultimate llama experience,the group learned the essentials of llama interaction, the secrets of llama trekking and packing, and the many uses of llama fiber. The group enjoyed a different sort of outdoor adventure and made many new llama friends.
Dartmouth Mountaineering Club
Ice for Brains
Winter, arguably the best time of the year if you’re an ice climber. Well, that’s what us ice climbers in the DMC are doing this winter, climbing ice. Not all DMCers are ice climbers though, even in the winter. Some become “gym climbers”.
A gym climber is one who sweats in a small room inhaling chalk fumes, listening to the same mix tapes every day (I Will Survive being on every d#%@! one of them), and grabbing the same greasy holds again and again and again. I’m a gym climber too sometimes, don’t get me wrong, it IS fun. However, I prefer the ice.
Ice climbing is great because most of the time you’re cold and wet. Your hands are always either too numb to feel pain, or too painful to feel numb. Sometimes ice hits you in the head, or sometimes your axe hits you in the head Often you yourself (or your smarter gym climber friends) hit you in the head for being an ice climber. When the day is over you realize that pleasure truly is the absence of pain. Ice climbing is, essentially, a more complicated and more expensive version of hitting yourself in the head with a hammer (ice axes have hammers on them!) —it feels so good when you stop.
Still, ice gets climbed, so there must be a reason people are willing to put up with all this. There are some good answers to the “Why do I climb?” question. The most famous answer is George Mallory’s “Because it is there.” Fortunately, there have been other answers that are perhaps slightly less exasperating, even if not by much. A club member from the 1950’s wrote the following…
There’s a saying for which I do not care; I don’t climb a mountain Just “Because it is There.” I incessantly fear That my grave will bear; "He went to the summit Because it was there." Far better it be said That the two were there; A relation developed Between the pair. And the two became one And sealed the affair; He climbed for the union, Not “Because it was There!”
Isn’t that nice? The implication that he climbs so as to become one with the mountain is a little disturbing though because that is essentially what happens to a human body when it collides with the ground after a sizable fall. WHUMP!!!
As for myself I suppose I climb because it makes me feel more. Descartes’ brother Bob, an avid ice climber himself, once said, “I hurt REALLY bad therefore I am” (Ouchoh ergo sum). I couldn’t put it any better myself.
Travelling with Dartmouth: An Offbeat Adventure
There I stood, on the corner of a busy Las Vegas intersection, my eyes pleading and a cumbersome but faithful backpack at my feet —two cardboard signs propped up against the side. They were bold signs; a single black word written carefuly on the remants of salvaged Grape-Nuts boxes; one said “Vermont” and the other simply said “Dartmouth”. Three beanbags wiggled through the air as the sun began its race from horizon to horizon. Juggling was my last resort and it was all I could do to humor myself. I had been standing there since 2:00 a.m. and no one had stopped to pick me up. It was now approaching 10:00 a.m. and the entrance ramp to I15 south was twitching with activity as the street lights changed from red to green and back to red.
The thumb is a myth, a remnant from another generation. Today one needs signs. I would be depending on my signs for a few thousand miles and though I was far from my homestate and my college, I had faith in their ability to connect with people from all over the nation.
I heard a honk. A black Blazer pulled up to the curb and a voice said hop in. Before I could gauge the character of my benefactor, I was in the car and headed south through Las Vegas.
“I know Dartmouth,” he said, “I grew up in St. Johnsbury, VT and used to play in the Shriner football games.” (Score one for the Dartmouth sign.) Nine hours of waiting on the street corner had finally come to an end.
I kept records of those who mentioned one or both of my signs as the reason for giving me a ride. By the end, almost half of my thirty rides could be attributed to the Dartmouth magnet. Hitch hiking harbors a tremendous amount of psychology —so many factors determine whether or not a given car will stop and open its door. How you look, where you stand on the road, eye contact with the driver, all of these and more contribute to your success. There are few feelings which can compare to the unique emotions experienced by a patient hitch hiker when a car pulls over after hours of waiting.
I stood and waited in the morning sun at the base of the I15 south entrance ramp. A flashy bright red convertible turned onto the ramp and pulled a classic move: he slowed down, turned his head, and began to migrate to the shoulder. Elated, I began gathering my stuff, but before I could raise my pack to my back he had changed his mind and accelerated up the ramp.
Sympathy is powerfull emotion. Not ten minutes later the same red convertable appeared before me. “Hop in!” said Len, a savvy sales representative from Las Vegas. Not only was this an unprecendented display of human compassion in the hitch-hiking world, but it was also the sportiest of rides I have ever had. A ride in a bright red convertible followed by the hospitality of Steve and Jason Stillman (…another point for the Big Green) brought me across the Hoover dam and into the mecca of Kingman, AZ.
Anonymity is a curious thing. It was a bizzarre feeling; no one within hundreds of miles cared about where I was, what I was doing, or how I was feeling. Nor did those who do care about me know where I was or what I was doing (…with the exception of my younger brother). The only connection between me and the thousands of people who drove by was that curly cortex in our brains.
In a strange way, it was quite refreshing. No expectations. No standards or achievements to live up to. No investment. When hitch hiking, almost all relationships are fated to be ephemeral; the only requirement of the hiker is that he or she be a good listener. Its part of the deal —you get free transportation, and in return you listen. It is phenomenal how deep some relationships will probe in an extremely short amount of time. There is nothing at stake, no tomorrow to be judged by, no history to resolved. It’s all about sharing with the knowledge that there will be no consequences. One knows in advance that the relationship is transient and thus there is no need to gaurd oneself or to hide revealing information. Confessions of all kinds pour out while on the road. Of course, this is not to say that every individual I hopped into a car with was the Dalai Lama…
I opened up the door of the beat up station wagon and I saw Paul —a large man who evoked images of a hairy potato. As I loaded my pack I felt for my swiss army knife —it’s wasn’t much in the way of protection, but it reassured me nevertheless. We rolled onto I40 east and Paul, with his eyes hidden behind a pair of those obese red plastic UV glasses, turned to me and said, “I think I should tell you that I’m gay.”
No problem, I thought. I couldn’t care less about a person’s orientation. Then I felt a hand on my thigh.
“Have you ever been with another man?” he asked. As I pondered my situation, I stealthfully moved my finger ring to the “engagement” position. “ I don’t think my fiancé would appreciate what you’re doing,” I bluffed. His hand moved from my thigh to my shoulder. Okay, I thought, that’s enough time spent with the forty-year old sloth.
I demanded that Paul pull over and let me out. While continuing to drive he preached to me about why I should stay with him. Though I consider myself very open-minded, the last thing I, or anyone I could imagine, would want to do is to be intimate with Paul. With a little more asperity I told him to stop the car. Soon I was standing on the side of the highway. I never felt threatened by Paul; he was extremely crude, but harmless. I wondered what it would be like for a woman out on this adventure.
Standing on the corner in Winslow, AZ. Eddie the meatcutter picked me up and we shared a 40 oz. Bud Light.
Tonya and Malcolm; a skydiver and a drummer driving home to British Columbia in a beautifully taylored van. We spent the day wandering petrified national forest and when they learned I was studying astronomy, they bombarded me with questions. I was elated by their sincere curiousity.
A storm, tumbleweeds, and dark clouds. Thirteen miles to Navajo, AZ on I40. I was in the middle of nowhere and the weather was rapidly turning on me. I began running. My pack bounced up and down as I held my left arm out with a sign. Finally, I was picked up by a Navajo Indian and his son. He signaled for me to hop in the back of his truck. It was cold and I curled into fetal position to conserve heat. I needed to get warm so I began struggling like Houdini in a locked trunk to get warmer clothes on without exposing myself to the cold wind above. I never looked over the side of the truck to see where we were, but I know we passed under a total of 4-5 bridges. It was dark when they dropped me off, still in the middle of nowhere. The young son smiled and handed me a bottle of Navajo reservation spring water.
There are many people in this world. Many minds entangled within their own personal web of agendas, commitments, and expectations. I often find myself overwhelmed as I sit on a bench and try to transport myself into the eyes of another person. So many people, each with a life full of stories of struggle and pain, love and passion, happiness and despair…there’s nothing I can do but sit on my bench and watch them go by.
Hitch hiking is therapuetic in this regard. Its a means of sampling the population; a way of sharing intimacy with a complete stranger for a short period of time. As long as the road stretches ahead, there is nothing to do but talk and learn about the other person. Rarely are last names shared, or even first names remembered; but that is not the point.
Each night as I crawled into my sleeping bag, I found solace in the thought that I had made an impact —however small —on the lives of all the random people who had given me a ride. I was something unexpected in their life, as they were in mine.
It was an odd feeling when one relationship began to develop beyond the deep reaching anonymity…
Evelyn, a mother in her early fifties, was on her way back to Michigan. It was 1:00 AM and I had been sitting in a small diner in eastern, AZ for several hours. There was a freak snowstorm to the east in New Mexico and all the travellers seemed to be headed west.
I asked Evelyn if, by any chance, she was headed east. Within five minutes we were on the road and she was giving me instructions for driving her car. I was dumbfounded; a mother, traveling alone, had picked me up and was now going to trust me with her car. She told me she was a good judge of character and I thanked her for the compliment.
Evelyn was coming from southern Arizona and had just completed a course in a new form of pressure therapy and new age medicine. She was a very liberated woman and we had many good conversations. Nevertheless, her driving scared me and thus I took the wheel as often as possible. We travelled together, non-stop to Ann Arbor, Michigan. Along the way we had a flat tire, we ate at Red Lobster, and we listened to a book on tape by Nelson Mandela. As she dropped me off, Evelyn asked for my last name and address so she could make sure I got home safely. Suddenly, I was no longer alone on the road. I craved my anonymity. I felt horrible for wanting to deny her motherly care, so rather than say no, I simply asked for her address instead. When I got home, I would send her a card. (…which I did do).
Humans are strange. Our behavior is sometimes so predictable and easy to stereotype, then at other times it becomes completely erratic. A young chemical engineer identified with my plight and bought me breakfast; a large man, with whom I had spoken, suprisingly denied me a ride (…then again he was wearing a Harvard t-shirt); a poor, hardworking Michigan man wouldn’t let me leave his car without first taking his map and his emergency poncho. Though the long hours of patiently waiting on the side of the road as hundreds of spacious cars rolled by often turned me cynical, I was continually revitalized by the people I encountered.
Ann Arbor, MI to Scranton, PA. John; introduction to truckdrivers. He was putting air into his tires as I approached him and asked if he was headed east. “Najahzee!” he bellowed as he turned to me with deranged eyes. With a little filtering, I realized that he was offering me a ride to New Jersey.
A stout character, John had been “driving truck” for 29 years and his life had given him a warehouse of information and stories. My job as grateful shotgun was to ask an occasional question which would open a memory-box good for 30-40 minutes of anecdotes. How much of it was true, I don’t care to speculate. They were good stories if for nothing other than the rough tongue with which he told them. He spoke of his time in the 10th Mountain Division —spending over two months training on a glacier in Alaska. He had friends in the 82nd airborne, horrific stories from Cambodia, tales of brothels and roadhouses from the old days of truckin’, and a rich woman from Florida who loved him and let him drive her 62-foot yacht up the delta of the Mississippi.
11:30 pm, 3/26/97. AMBest truckstop along I80 near Scranton, PA. An omelet for him and french toast for me. John and I parted —one north, one south. I had yet to find my ride north and took pleasure in people watching at this bizarre petroleum oasis. A man playing Ms. Packman, standing with his arm propped up on the game and half a dozen quarters lined up on the rim; a curly-haired old woman with her purse falling down, scrutinizing the home-made fudge to see if it was really worth the $3.49/lb; two children, groggy from a long car ride.
I sat at a U-shaped counter with an astronomy magazine and began reading. It was 3:30 in the morning and I found myself being coaxed into conversation with delinquent Billy. He was a young man who had been sitting at one end of the counter with his sidekick on his right. His purpose, it seemed, was to perpetually harass the waitstaff —which, from what I could gather, was comprised largely of Billy’s old girlfriends. I can think of no better words to describe his appearance than that of a strung-out, backwoods version of Wierd Al Yankovik. He was humorous, but not in the way he wanted to be.
At some point the conversation shifted to the Heaven’s Gate suicides. I saw this as the opportune time to pipe in with a little astronomy knowledge; perhaps earning the credibilty needed for a ride east with one of the truckers at the counter. As conversation continued, however, I learned that delinquent Bill and the other gentlemen were mistaking me for a young trucker. I alluded to my plight east, and a nice father to my right apologized for being unable to help me: his whole family was riding with him and hence his cabin was quite full. Billy just stared at me with beedy eyes and a dropped jaw. He immediately took an interest my pilgrimmage and I knew I had a confidant who would help me secure a ride.
In walks Steve, a tall clean-cut trucker with glasses and a well maintained mustache. Hale-Bopp once again became the topic of conversation. “ I’ve been followin’ that thing on the horizon for the past week!” He remarked. Hmmm, east or west? I pondered to myself.
We were on the road by 4:00 a.m. and Steve wanted to reach Hackensack, NJ by 7:30 a.m. Not only did he have a load to deliver, but he was worried about fellow truckers seeing him with a hitch hiker once the sun came up —“Company policies these days don’t condone what I’m doin’ for ya!” he said. I’ll never forget the intense red moon on the eastern horizon that morning.
Steve was a gentleman, quite a contrast from John. He spoke of his family and how he and his son enjoyed working on cars together and playing basketball. He drives a well-defined trucking loop so he can maximize time with his family.
Hartford adventures: I had made it to Conneticut, I was almost home. Dropped off in the middle of knotted highways. I hop a fence. Scramble down a muddy slope. Run along another fence. Hop that fence. Run along a road next a river. It turns into a wooded trail littered with garbage. More garbage. Now beds and shopping carts and mattresses. Nobody here by this wall I’ve come to. No one here under this bridge I’ve come to —but I can tell, I can see that it is home to many. I continue along the wall, believing that on the other side lies the road I’m looking for. I climb a tree to reach the wall. My pack weighs me down. I pull up onto the concrete slab and look down over the other side. A thirty foot drop to rail-road tracks crushes my ambition. Tired, sweaty, hungry, bleeding, I down climb and continue my trek. Later, after getting out of that maze of fences, walls and trails, I wash up in a McDonald’s bathroom; many strange looks from the folks at the Golden Arches.
Northampton, MA. Entrance ramp to I91: There was an old, bearded man in a grey trenchcoat lying on the embankment next to the ramp. As I approached him, a fear grew inside me that he might be dead. I crouched down and asked him if he was okay. The wrinkled body, probably 65-70 years old, rustled and two intense, startled eyes looked up at me. A hoarse voice mumbled a response indicating that he was fine. I fed him two granola bars and some water and gradually more life entered his body. As I stood there by the road, holding my signs and watching the old man gather himself together, a jeep full of young high school students passed by us several times. With each pass they yelled obnoxious comments and made obnoxious gestures. I waved back and smiled with irony. I did not know what to do with the old man. He began walking away and I asked him where he was going. He looked back at me and said nothing. Not long after the old man was out of sight, a police car pulled up beside me and asked me about him. I directed them to where I had last seen his figure disappear.
Lisa, a mother on her way to McDonald’s to buy a treat for her autistic child.
Vermont state representative on his way home from Montpelier in his little VW Rabbit. (Definately a point for the home state.)
Ted, my old barber.
Standing in the rain by the Sprinfield, VT entrance ramps to I91. The Dartmouth sign once again came to my aid. Mr. and Mrs. Sandoe (’49) took pity on my dripping condition; nobody picks up a wet hitch-hiker. The Sandoes brought me to the Hopkins Center. I told them a few stories from my adventures on the road and as I pulled my lumbering pack from the car and said goodbye I felt an odd sensation overcoming me. I looked up at the Tower and the few bodies scrambling across the Green, dodging puddles along the paths.
It was odd. I was back in Dartworld, where everything seems to take place in the future tense. Our goals, our ambitious visions, so much potential, so much excitement and energy about what our lives will behold. I had just spent a week thinking about nothing but my next ride, wondering if and when it would come. Wondering who it would be and what stories they would tell. The future was a car twenty miles away, headed towards me at 60mph…
I stood there in the rain and wondered where delinquent Billy was, what Evelyn was doing, and whether or not Steve was with his family. I will never see those people again, nor would I realize it if I did. They were brief flahses in my life, as I was in theirs —just another hitch hiker who’s name and face blend with all the rest. I was not saddened by this thought. Had one car been different, my chain of rides and the people I met would have been completely different. I was pleased that what otherwise might not have been, was. Our paths crossed briefly, the result of many random events, yet they had indeed crossed. For that brief period we shared our lives and then parted.
I like knowing that they are out there. Granted it took many patient hours of waiting by the road, but I found them nevertheless. I like knowing that, even though our society may sometimes seem so sick and twisted, when you actually dive headlong into its murky pool, there are those who will help you come up for air and teach you to swim. It is difficult to see at times, but there is still something that we all share, something that makes us want to reach out. We all wander the planet with our signs out, looking for people who want to share the ride. It can be lonely, sitting there on your pack, waiting for that ride, but you don’t give up. Your eyes keep searching the edge of the horizon, looking for that next car. You stay hopeful and have faith because you know that there are others out there like you; people who care, people who think, and most of all, people who just enjoy sharing the ride.
The DOC’s Distributive Requirements
- Hike Mt. Moosilauke
- Get up Gile Firetower in the fall
- Go off the Rope Swing into the CT River
- Spend a night in a DOC cabin
- Roast marshmallows over the burning embers of the aboutcoming bonfire
- Square dance with Everett Blake up at MRL
- Go on a Full Moon Paddle or a Pancake Paddle (depending whether you’re a night or a morning person)
- Climb some buildings around campus
- Take a study break up at Velvet Rocks on the AT
- Go sledding on the golf course.
Marking Trail (Sonnet 7)
Along the ridge they crouch: small piles of stones. A dull and dirty trail, jagged, battered by wind And splattered down with rain doggedly winds Between the cairns. They wait, patient, alone. Passing, I toss another rock atop The totter-weary monument, careful To see it lands among the rest; then full Of my small deed and out of breath, I stop, Considering the thoughts of those who passed Before me on this march, careful to line Their steps with granite signs to mark my way. And yet along this ridge no dew-dipped grass Grows. The world is barren and the travelers blind To future turns. Yet still we mark the path each day: brown dirt beneath a sky too grey.
Editors: Jennifer Taylor, C. Walker Holmes, Francis Chang, Katie Stewart, Rebekka Brooks, Anne Margolis, Ashley Thomas, Liz Gerber, Ben Berk, Brad Molyneaux, Kevin Hand.
Contributors: Katie Stewart, Rebekka Brooks, Jennifer Taylor, Mike Hay, Mike Carey, Anne Margolis, Antje Herlyn, Thaddeus Law, Margot Knight, C. Walker Holmes, Elizabeth French, Bruce Kennedy, Francisco DeLeon, Jamie Shandro, Frank Cappello, Kevin Hand.
Artwork/Photography: Francis Chang, Jennifer Taylor, Liz Gerber, Ben Berk, C. Walker Holmes, Kevin Hand.